Opposition Leader Aubrey Norton made an absurd new highlight, calling for an
“…end to `discrimination’ by PPP/C.” In fact, so absurd is this empty utterance that the news reported that he still “…won’t be shaking (President) Ali’s hand until issues (be) addressed” This is like an LOL.
In this little missive, I will forget the puerile ‘handshake’ issue. It is just too childish, and therefore a non-issue. Instead, I will address his ‘discrimination’ accusation, as I see that he did not substantiate it. So, my purpose is to prove him otherwise.
First, I invite Mr Norton to reflect on recent happenings in Linden. Back in April of this year, contrary to claims from Norton, Vice President Dr Bharrat Jagdeo had to reassure residents of Linden, Region 10, that the People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) Government never had intentions to remove their electricity subsidy (which I think should have been incrementally removed). This clarification was necessary because of ‘ill-will and manufactured’ comments made by the unpopular Aubrey Norton, who actually lied when he stated that the electricity rates in Linden would be increased.
Jagdeo aptly summarised the situation, explaining that Norton, “Reeling from his rejection by the people of Linden, as evidenced by the poor turnout at his meeting, has embarked on his familiar acts of deception and desperation.” So, I repeat the VP’s call that “Guyanese should therefore not fall prey to Norton’s attempt to mislead and cause panic.”
Still with Linden, at the onset of 2022, the People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) Government did set out to achieve transformative development in every community, and Linden was highlighted. I ask that Norton resist how Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Guyana Office for Investment (Go-Invest), Dr Peter Ramsaroop, detailed then that “tens of millions of dollars” in investment were earmarked for the mining town of Linden, Region 10. He went into the finer points, explaining that Go-Invest had signed investment packages with a few big companies that are seeking to expand and develop the township. In his exact words, he noted, “We recently signed an investment package with a large cement plant in Linden that is doing quite a bit of construction work in building houses in Linden…We are about to sign another investment package with a medical supply company to do oxygen bottling and other types of packaging. In the region, we recently had some large mega farms in soya bean and corn, and we are about to do some more in that…We have another investor who came to put up a steel factory right outside of Linden.”
So, it is quite galling that this Opposition Leader is ‘chanting race’ when the Government is going the ‘extra-mile’ to reach out to traditional strongholds of People’s National Congress, and to pour inputs into Afro-Guyanese villages.
Let me go to Sophia as another example. Just last month, some 100 residents of Sophia, Greater Georgetown, benefited from the Government’s $250,000 business-grant initiative. As we all know, this was a part of the Government’s manifesto promise to ensure that Guyanese from across the country, irrespective of race or region, have access to business opportunities. This money is right now enabling residents to either start or enhance their businesses.
Then, still with Sophia, in October 2021, the Guyana Government, through the Housing and Water Ministry’s Central Housing and Planning Authority (CH&PA), did ink approximately $136 million in contracts for the construction of core homes in Sophia and the installation of street lights.
Before that time, I remind Norton that, in the past year, more than $600 million was already invested in Sophia for infrastructure upgrades, the construction of a multipurpose facility, and the disbursement of home improvement subsidies.
Editor, I can go on and on. I can even invoke Buxton and Agricola, but I think that my point is well-made. Aubrey Norton is fanning the waning flame of racism. He is seeking to invigorate a dying ‘race’ sentiment. I am happy that numbers are not on his side, and his puerile quest is becoming overtly known. In fact, his crusade is being rejected bit by bit. He cannot corroborate his denouncement of the Government. He also cannot sustain his propaganda that the PPP/C is practising both ‘political and ethnic discrimination.’